24 January 2017

Kenya: NCIC to Train 1,000 Police Officers to Deal With Hate Mongers

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) plans to train 1,000 police officers by July on how to monitor war and hate mongers and collect water-tight evidence against them ahead of the August 8 elections.

The commission's chairman Francis ole Kaparo said in Mombasa on Tuesday that some 250 officers have already been trained and equipped with voice recorders, cameras and other gadgets to collect evidence.

"We have been training officers on acquisition of hate speeches and ways in which they can properly present such evidence in courts.

"We have so far done trainings in 24 counties and we shall do similar trainings in the remaining counties. We have trained 250 police officers but our target is between 800 and 1,000 officers," added Mr Kaparo.

He was speaking on the side-lines of a two-day workshop to review strategies on peace building ahead of the elections.

He said there are increased cases of hate speech and hostilities among politicians and ordinary Kenyans due to heightened political temperatures.

While issuing a stern warning to politicians against getting involved in hate speech, Mr Kaparo said his commission has partnered with the police, intelligence, civic societies, religious leaders and other players to monitor the situation closely in order to deal with the scenario before it escalates into chaos.


He said his commission is alarmed by the campaigns surrounding the ongoing voter registration, a scenario he said has never been witnessed since the country's independence.

"We are already alarmed [by] the heightened political activities around voter registration, something we have never seen before.

"It is not bad but could be a trigger point to rising political heat and social despondency," said Mr Kaparo.

He also urged the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) to investigate cases of incitement on social and mainstream media, particularly vernacular television and radio stations.

"I was just listening a clip from Mandera and what was being said was totally disheartening.

"We also have another case of a vernacular radio station which was [broadcasting] nasty things that could trigger ethnic hatred among Kenyans and we urge CA to investigate cases related to social media and mainstream media to help us restore peace and harmony in the country," Mr Kaparo said.


NCIC vice chairperson Irene Njeri Wanyoike said the establishment of the devolved system of governance has brought up new election-related challenges.

"The new positions that were never there, particularly that of governor(s), has attracted so much attention and it can bring conflicts and disharmony in counties," added Ms Wanyoike.

She said the commission is monitoring a lot of election-related activities in all counties and engaging key stakeholders, particularly women and youth, to enhance peace building.

"We have been told the youth are used to cause violence but we also know that women are similarly used to create violence because of their influential position in the society and therefore, we shall be meeting women representatives from all Coast counties to build their capacity and ask them to help reduce conflicts ahead of [the] elections," said Ms Wanyoike.


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